“  do you call that poetry?” Speaking of a certain well-known versifier, he said: “He's a good fellow enough, but he can't write poetry, and if——had remained in Boston he would have killed him, he takes criticism so hard. As for me, I like a little opposition, I enjoy it, I can't understand the feeling of those thin-skinned people.” I said I had been looking to see what books he preferred should lie on his table. “I don't prefer,” he said, “I read no books. I have been trying for years to get a chance to read Wilhelm Meister, and other books. Was Goethe a dissolute man?” To which I replied with a sweeping negative. This led the conversation to biography, and he remarked, ‘How many wooden biographies there are about. They are of no use. There are not half a dozen good biographies in our language. You know what Carlyle says: ‘I want to know what a man eats, what time he gets up, what color his stockings are?’ (His, on this occasion, were white, with a hole in each heel.) ‘There's no use in any man's writing a biography unless he can tell what no one else can tell.’’ Seeing me glance at his pictures, he said he had brought them from Italy, but there was only one or two of them that he boasted of. A talk upon politics ensued. He said he had had enough of party politics. He would speak for temperance, and labor, and agriculture, and some other objects, but he was not going to stump the country any more to promote the interest of party or candidates. In alluding to political persons he used the utmost freedom of vituperation, but there was such an evident absence of anger and bitterness on his part, that if the vituperated individuals had overheard the conversation, they would not have been offended, but amused. Speaking of association, he said: “Ah! our workingmen must be better educated: we must have better schools; they must learn to confide in one another more; then they will associate.” Then, laughing, he added: “If you know anybody afflicted with democracy, tell him to join an association; that will cure him if anything will; still, association will triumph in its day, and in its own way.” In reply to G——'s definition of Webster as “a petty man, with petty objects, sought by petty means,” he said: I call him a– —--; but his last reply to Hayne was the biggest speech yet made; it's only so long, “ pointing to a place on his arm, but it's ”
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.